Have you ever noticed how hard it is for most of us to accept praise, compliments…anything flattering?

I wonder – when does that start to happen?

Young children love to be complimented. They beam. Their posture straightens…they feel worthy.

You have really gotten good at pumping on the swings!

YES, you’re right!! I have! I am a great pumper!

Something happens to many of us somewhere along the way.  We stop believing the good things about ourselves…or at least, it becomes harder.

{It can’t just be me…right?}

Sometimes we don’t even hear the good things being said…we tune them out, subconsciously dismissing them.

Sometimes we hear them but we just don’t believe them to be true.

Sometimes we even try to talk others out of a compliment!

Oh no…not me…Oh that, that wasn’t a big deal….Oh no, so-and-so is much better…

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I am blessed with very expressive children. Sometimes they’ll say to me, “Mom, you are the best Mom in the world.”

In the past I have really had to work to resist the urge to say, “Oh…well, that’s not true. You simply don’t have a frame of reference for that…I’m the only mom you’ve ever had. I am definitely not the best mom in the world. Sorry about that.”

In my head, I’d run through all of my shortcomings as a mother. I’d stop myself just short of worrying that they might have Stockholm Syndrome.

Finally I realized by doing this (even just quietly in my head), I am missing the point.

The point is that to them, I am the best they can imagine...and isn’t that pretty incredible? So I have learned to simply say, ‘Thank you!” and to savor these proclamations, as I know as we enter the teenage years I am not likely to be placed so firmly upon a pedestal.

I have worked on getting better at accepting the nice things other people say to me, too…though it is even harder. I have gotten better at saying Thank you or Thanks for telling me when people compliment me on this blog, for example.

But…

I still notice it…this predisposition to hear the criticism so much more loudly than the compliments.

A friend wrote to me the other night. He wrote some really kind things, including,

“You are an inspiration.”

What?

Never have I been called that. What a beautiful thing to say, and…

Initially I skipped right over it, and all of the other nice things he wrote. Instead, I focused on taking a gentle suggestion he made, and turning it into a criticism. Somehow that was easier to accept as the predominant point of his message.

It wasn’t until later that his words flashed back to me, and I went back to re-read his message.

I allowed myself to feel worthy of his words.

Can you imagine?

Let’s do more of that, you guys.

Let’s allow ourselves to hear the good stuff loud and clear

And to feel worthy of it.

 

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